Tuesday, March 30, 2010

i had to respond

in response
i am not targeting the author if this blog post... and i'm not talking about mainstream hip hop vs underground hip hop... im talking about mass media's ability to exploit specific aspects of hip hop, repeat specific images, and redefine the pop culture understanding of what is "real" and what is "hip hop".

this is my perspective...

in an attempt to maintain audience attention... i think mass media fixates way too much on interpersonal drama... pop gossip. if you were watching "MTV's The Real World" from it's start... right around real world SF... i think mass media realized it could capitalize on certain aspects of "reality tv" : the crazy dude who just starts shit, homosexual relationships, inter ethnicity drama, and generally drama created by people living together.

then... much later, Survivor adds a spin to "reality TV" by putting competition in "reality".

is anyone going to debate me when i say that competition brings out the worst in humanity?

*** i am not judging specific people at this point.... i am merely stating my observations of what pop culture is presenting to us as "reality" at this point

right after the first airing of Survivor, MTV added competition to it's other "reality tv" show Road Rules. and if you follow road rules and later, real world... those shows begin to focus on the drama between people... and keeps repeating images and scenes of people in competition and conflict with each other.

admittedly around this time i stopped actively watching mtv/bet/and vh1.

however i did keep tabs.

and my tabs on this growing genre of "reality" tv just show a growing interest in "alliances" and deceit, and how people arguing with other people are at the forefront of pop culture.

so now we have a pop culture stage where the limelight is a boxing arena...
and "music television" is no longer about music... they are about this diffused and obscured perspective of "reality". and music highlight shows like 106 and park and that show on mtv with carson dailey don't even play entire music videos.

so what happened to the music and it's audience... the pop culture audience is primed for drama... they seek it out... and they no longer have the attention span to digest a full music video.

additionally artists are under pressure... to meet certain sales goals, to sell x amt of albums, to generate hype and publicity to sell music. to compete for an audience's attention which has been inundated with the idea that "reality" is an ikea furnished home where people drink and get into fights and sleep around and party and do things that really happen in "real life"... just not to the extent as it is portrayed on television.

and i am not going to say that Rappers and people in "hip hop" are saints... i'm not trying to say that "real hip hop" is all wholesome and pure and non competitive and all inclusive... nothing is. but in my opinion... mass media has done nothing to help hip hop. mass media exploits drama between people and sells it to us. and now drama is a marketing tool to sell books and cds. and i believe that pop culture/mass media/reality tv has twisted artists minds so much... that they play into it and become the roles publicized on tv.

don't believe me? how about flava flav and ray j?

*** this is not a personal attack on flava flav or ray j... this is only my interpretation of how they are presented to us as artists and people. additionally, if i were in a position to get paid and be on tv in a reality show... i probably fucking would. because people gotta eat and light bills don't pay themselves.

but what did the reality tv shows of flava flav and ray j present us? did they represent flava flav and ray j as artists at all?
ray j has been making music since the late 90s. and really... from my perspective he has been a struggling artist until his sex tape came out. and how many people know flava flav in his musical capacity as opposed to his tv personality?

hip hop has always had this aspect of image. really. for anyone to participate in hip hop... you gotta have the image down. whether you were a b-boy in shell tops in the early 80s or rocking the 1st grant hill's and a helly hansen jacket in the 90s... from cybertek to stunna shades... "hip hop" has always had this notion of image and presentation attached to it. it is embodied in a graff writer's pieces and robots next to a djs turntables. you gotta look the part somewhat if you wanna play the game... that is a component of "real hip hop".

so in my opinion... when artists are presented with these images of what "reality" is on tv, it gets assimilated into their image.

and im sure that rappers would be having sex with "groupies" if they weren't pervasively portrayed on tv... but would some of those groupies be groupies if those people (im sure there are male groupies out there too) weren't bombarded with images of groupie behavior (via reality tv) on tv?

as a dj who considers himself a contributing member of this "hip hop culture" i have to admit that i am offended by " Kat Stacks’ Confessions. Don’t Be Mad, Hip-Hoppers, You Created This." because i didn't do that shit BET... you did.

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